Alcoholics Anonymous History In Your Area
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
40 Years for Mount Royal
A guest at Harbourlight, Paul H. was mandated to attend AA meetings. Tuesdays and Thursdays he went to the nearby Mount Royal Group. Joan B., a long-time member of the group who died in January, explained the “do” things and told him, “do as you’re told.” So he did, and joined the group.
Now, 19 months sober, Paul is secretary of the group and a useful citizen – a social worker in the downtown core, working with people just like he use to be.
The Mount Royal Group was founded in July 1960, and will celebrate 40 years of service to the community on July 18. According to long-time AA member, Dan McK., who attended the group’s first meeting, “at a church at Avenue Road and Bloor,” one of the founders was Dave C., a Montreal businessman, who, says Jeff S., co-founder of the new Leslie Group and former Mount Royal member, “named it Mount Royal after Montreal.” Jeff was a member of the group until 1988 and still has sponsees in the group.
Mount Royal soon moved to the Metropolitan United Church when the Rev. Dr. Little, who was a great friend of AA, was pastor. He was also part of the original AA meetings in the Little Denmark Restaurant back in the 1940s and he welcomed another AA group meeting in his church. The York Group meets there on Thursday nights.
Mount Royal has never kept an archive – an unconfirmed legend says its founding date was the 20th – but the group’s tablecloth just says the month and year. Rod I., a 25-year member of the group, remembers this date being celebrated when he first came in as the youngest member at age 28.
Rod noted, “A lot of people start here and then move on to other groups.” He stressed how delighted the current group members would be to see graduates of the Mount Royal Group at the 40th-anniversary celebrations.
At some point, a discussion meeting was started on Thursday nights. No one today knows when. The site of this meeting has changed over the years, currently at St. Michael’s Parish Hall, 66 Bond Street, across from the Cathedral. Like the open meeting, it starts at 6:00 pm.
Because of its location and early start time, the meeting attracts a wide variety of people: business people who work downtown, visitors – both business and tourists – staying in downtown hotels, people in treatment, and dedicated souls who got sober at the Mount Royal Group and have since moved away from the downtown core. The group usually has eight or nine formal members, but 30 to 40 people attend the Tuesday night meeting. A fair number are from treatment and are mandated to come. However, as Rod says, “It wears off on them,” and they stay.
The group has a lot of one-year medallions and fewer longer-term ones as many newer AAs move away from the downtown core as they become established in sobriety.
To celebrate 40 years of dedicated group service, attend the Mount Royal Group, Metropolitan United Church Hall, 50 Queen St. E., at the corner of Bond (it’s the building in the back of the church), on July 18, at 6:00 pm.
Copyright © July 2000, Better Times, GTA Intergroup, Toronto, Canada